Taking Trout, by Dave Hughes. Published by Stackpole Books. 201 pages in a 6 x 9 format; hardback. No illustrations or photos. $19.95. Available in some fly shops, direct from the publisher, or online (google the title and author).
everal months ago Dave Hughes and I chatted over lunch. Somewhere between the spring roll and the kung pao chicken, he told me he'd had an offer from a dot-com to buy the electronic rights to his "Fly Fishing Success" columns. These columns had appeared in Fly Rod and Reel magazine over the last six years.
"Take the offer," I admonished. "But get the money up front and cash the check the same day. Don't delay. A lot of these dot-coms are starting to look shaky."
Hughes called them right back, but it was too late: the financial folks had already shut down the company.
Fortunately for Hughes and for fly fishers, Stackpole Books recognized an opportunity and was solvent. Dave collected those columns along with articles from other magazines. He revised most of them, expanding some concepts and adding new material. Taking Trout was born.
The book contains 35 chapters, most four-five pages long. In each chapter Hughes describes a fly fishing situation and presents its solution.
I read many of these articles when they appeared in Fly Rod and Reel at the rate of six a year. Seeing them in book form gives me a new appreciation. Hughes is a master at illustrating a point with a story. He is also a keen observer who appreciates the problems confronted by anglers of all abilities. The chapters span the spectrum from reading water to rod selection to fishing pocket water to picking a fly. There's useful advice in each of them.
Collections of magazine columns seldom make successful books. That's because most book buyers are looking for in-depth coverage of one topic, and a string of unrelated 1,500-2,000 word articles doesn't meet their expectations. That's where Hughes made a good decision: he added a lot of material to the original articles. The result is a book, not a collection.
Taking Trout is a pleasure to read and the advice is practical and not overly technical. Keep it on the table next to your bed and read a chapter or two every night. You'll catch more trout in your waking world as well as in your dreams.
Bottom Line: Good trout fishing advice from one of our best writers. Reviewer Rating: 4
5=tops 3=average 1=low
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